Top 5 Friday: 5 Tips To Get Your Money Game On Track

Top 5 Friday: 5 Tips To Get Your Money Game On Track

Oh heeeyyyy it’s Friday! Who’s excited???

Remember a couple weeks ago when I was talking about the awesome sauce coming at’cha in 2018 and a few new things that would be thrown in the mix? Well, today’s the day and I’m talking a little bit about that ugly, crappy, boring topic called FINANCES. I know, I know, sounds awful, but I’ve become really passionate about personal finances! I’ve been reading and learning a lot about how to improve my own and in the meantime realized I had a few helpful tips that might benefit some of you!

So, if you are new to personal finance or if your money situation is just a hot mess (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!) here are a few basic tips to get you on the path of taking control of your finances once and for all.

And by the way, I don’t have a lot of pictures in my inventory that go with the $ theme so you’re just going to have to endure some more home and travel pics lol! Because that’s pretty much what I spend my extra money on anyway :)

Top 5 Friday: 5 Tips To Get Your Money Game On Track

{This NYC photo is a new addition to the Society6 shop!}

Step 1. Track your spending.

The very first step to taking control of your financial life is to know where your money’s going. An easy way to do this is to grab a few different colored highlighters, print out your bank statements for the last couple months and highlight away. Choose one color for groceries, bills, eating out etc. then add up the amounts. This will give you a pretty good idea of what you’re spending your money on and what you can cut down or out.

Step 2. Create a budget.

It sounds simple but this is probably the hardest step of all BUT if you can do it you will be WAY ahead of the game and won’t even know it! I’m sure there is a boat load of statistics about how many Americans don’t have or use a budget…and you’re not going to be one of them! :)

My advice is to choose a platform whether it’s pen and paper, an excel spreadsheet or an online budgeting tool and dedicate a few solid hours to learning a program or building your spreadsheet. I have recently left the excel world and started using YNAB and I love it! This program has a small monthly fee but because of it’s capabilities it’s worth it to me right now. There are some really good free options like Mint.com.

Step 3. Build an emergency fund.

If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck you probably haven’t established an emergency fund or at least it’s not where it needs to be. This is where set it and forget it comes in! When you’re creating your budget make sure to pay yourself first whether that is $5 or $500 a month, and set that up to automatically transfer to a high yield savings account such Ally Bank, CIT Bank or Barclays.

Work towards a $1000 and once you hit that work towards saving 3-6 months of income and on from there. I promise you will feel so much security from just this little step. Digit is also a great way to save without having to think about it. You link up your bank accounts, the app analyzes your in and outflow, then automatically saves a little bit at a time for you so it’s pretty much painless.

Step 4. Payoff debt.

Once you’ve started working towards establishing an emergency fund, start aggressively attacking any debt you have – particularly credit cards, student loans and car loans. Take some of the extra money from cutting back in the tracking spending/budgeting steps and put that towards your debt.

Take a little time and sell any unused or unnecessary items around your house and put that towards your debt. Cut out or re-negotiate your utility bills if possible and put any extra money towards the debt. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can knock it out and once you feel that weight start to come off your shoulders it will be contagious I promise!

Step 5. Start investing.

Investing could probably be 20 blog posts on it’s own but for the purposes of this post we’re just talking about the beginning process. If you haven’t been putting money in your 401K or don’t have one START NOW! And if your employer does any kind of matching program make sure you’re maxing it out. It’s really silly not to because that’s essentially free money, right?

Then, after you’re contributing the max you can to any retirement accounts it’s time to start simple. Open up a brokerage account from somewhere like Vanguard, Fidelity or Charles Schwab and automatically start transferring a little bit into this account too. Remember, anything is better than nothing and if you start now compound interest is your best friend.

Another easy way to start a simple investment is to sign up with Acorns. Acorns is similar to Digit in that it rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers that to an account that is then invested for you instead of just saving. You also have the option to make a one-time or recurring investment. SO easy and painless you guys!

***

**A little sidebar here that’s important to mention – the last three steps can actually happen simultaneously, especially #4 and #5. While I think it’s super important to have a little stashed away in your emergency fund before you start paying off debt, I think you can do all three at the same time (especially if you have debt that will take you more than a few years to payoff). Remember time is on your side with saving and investing so you want to make sure to get a little in both of these categories so that you can see the benefits of your money making money while simultaneously chipping away at your debt. Make sense?

I know that’s a lot to take in but if you start with these 5 simple steps you will quickly get your financial life headed in the right direction and on your way to more sophisticated savings and investing!

I’ll be sharing more resources in an upcoming post but I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and two of my favorites are Journey To Launch and The Money Nerds Podcast! They are truly helpful, especially for beginner budgeter/investors, so check them out it podcasts are your thing!

Also, since this post is a little off the beaten path I would LOVE to get your feedback. Please let me know if you found it helpful. Hopefully recent college grads will benefit from it and for those of you that have your sh*t together – excuse my language – then maybe it’s something you want to pass on to your kids or grandkids who are just starting out on their financial journey! Thanks so much for reading y’all!

Cheers!

Similar Posts

8 Comments

  1. The business advisor in Brisbane went above and beyond to ensure that we were equipped with the tools and strategies needed to thrive in a competitive market.

  2. We have been using YNAB since we bought our home 3 years ago and it’s been life-changing. With all the little things like HOA fees, home maintenance, daycare, loans, vacation, etc., it’s been so helpful to see what money we have BEFORE we spend it instead of correcting ourselves after the fact.

    1. That’s great to know Sam! I’m not using it to it’s full capabilities yet and it’s already changing my world! And I totally agree about the before spending knowledge! Thanks for reading!

  3. I work in finance and I wholeheartedly support women being proactive about personal finance/investing. First, I highly recommend Vanguard because they have the lowest fees! Fees can eat a big chunk out of your investments and can often be hidden.

    Do you know about Acorns? https://acorns.com/invite/A5RTM6
    You connect it to your bank account and it rounds up each purchase you make to the next dollar, and invests the difference. Admittedly this is not the option with the lowest fees (I think it’s $1/month) but it’s really easy to set up and I feel like it’s money I wouldn’t have invested otherwise. They make it really easy to pick the investing mix…I have nearly $700 and I just started in July. I haven’t missed the money at all!

    1. Thanks Emily! Yes, Vanguard’s fees are so low! And that’s funny you mentioned Acorns! I just started investing with them and it’s so easy! I was trying to keep the post simple but I should add it! Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.